With Fall already sticking its cold fingers down our backs and Winter following close behind, it is incredibly tempting to blast that heater to death-ray temperatures and ignore the heating costs that are soon to inflate. There are better ways to stay warm and cost effective this winter, with a few minor adjustments and winter preparation to avoid a sky-rocketing heating bill.
Winterize your home. Cover your air conditioner in plastic, and get those cheap kits from your local store to vacuum seal plastic on your windows to avoid drafts. Roll up a towel or get a sleeve to place under your front door to block air coming under your door, and make sure your heater vents are not covered with curtains, furniture, etc so you get maximum warmth without blasting your heater all day long.
Keep your thermostat at a constant temperature- 65 degrees is comfortable. Though tempting, avoid turning up the heat to a higher temperature and then turning it down when you’re sweating, as this wastes energy and jumps up your heating bill. We keep the temperature at 65 degrees during the day, lowering the heater to 50 degrees when we’re not home or at night to avoid the heater kicking on and off all night long, while still staying comfortable. Break out the blankets to avoid cranking up the heat before bed.
Have a jacket to wear in the house so you can stay comfortable and stay away from the thermostat. My fiance is comfortable while I whine about freezing to death, and I am the one who cranks up the heater to 80 degrees until I sweat myself stupid. I’ve learned that I can tolerate a constant 65 degree temperature in the house so long as I wear a sweater, and I’ll be a lot happier when the bill comes.
Make sure all your windows are closed and free of drafts if you don’t want to winterize them. Hold a lit candle or a tissue to your window, and if the flame moves or the tissue gets drawn to the window, you have a draft. Line your window with towels if nothing else to avoid those winter drafts that compromise the heat you’re trying to maintain in the home.
Close cupboards under the sinks- these areas are always cool, and even if they are slightly open they can allow cool air into your home. Also, get a rug for your kitchen and bathroom so the heat can maintain longer in areas that don’t have carpeting. A small measure, but it works on cold feet against freezing bare flooring to keep you away from the heater yet again.
Wear socks or slippers in the home. Heat is expressed the most out of our feet and head, so cold feet equals cold body, which equals cranking up that thermostat to blasting. Wearing socks in the home helps trap that natural body heat, keeping yourself at a more comfortable temperature all around. I wear thick wool socks all day long once September hits to try to stay warm.
Sit on the heater vent (if you have floor vents) and place a blanket over your head while the heat just blasts away. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, and it quickly warms your body first thing in the morning and just plain feels good. Popping a blanket in the dryer to snuggle into works as well when your house feels unbearably cold.
Break out the robe to wear all day long in the house. It keeps me warm head to toe so once again, I keep my fingers away from that thermostat. Getting a little heater that you can buy for a few dollars to blow in the living room for about a half hour or so every couple hours helps to keep main rooms comfortable without wasting so much energy. Just be careful that nothing is in front of these heaters and don’t leave them on when no one is in the room to avoid possible fire or melting of items nearby.
Put a sign next to your thermostat that says NOT to crank up the heat. My fiance did this to me so I could be reminded every time I was tempted to crank up that thermostat. It works great for the kids too- we have a mark next to 65 on the thermostat so we know it’s at it’s max allowance for warmth. I cheat (a lot) when he’s gone, but it works when he’s home…
Most of all, use your last years’ heating costs as a reminder to be more energy efficient when it comes to heating your home. If you want to keep your costs down and still stay warm, remember how last year made you want to crap your pants when you saw the bill, and you’ll be more likely to break out the sweaters and leave that thermostat alone.